Driving in the Philippines

A week or so ago, LiP writer, John Miele wrote an article about driving in the Philippines.  He told how driving here is like swimming in a school of fish.  Well, I have been driving here in the Philippines for nearly 11 years now, and to be honest, I have come to enjoy driving here!  It takes some getting used to, but after you make the adjustment you will feel like it is second hand to you too, I am sure of that!

As John said, you have to follow the school of fish and just do what others do, that way you will roll with the flow, and will not have an accident here.  In my 11 years of driving here, I have had one traffic accident, and that was a case where somebody hit me from behind, so my actions played no role in the accident.

Today, I thought I’d share a video with you of driving here in the Philippines.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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      • Steven Hark says

        Hi Bob

        There really is a sense of freedom when driving around Davao City. Freedom from law-enforcement officers. I have lived in many countries and Davao has the worst standard of driving I have ever seen. Traffic lights? Forget them. Turn right on red (which is stupid) does not mean that one has the right to push into the stream of traffic – it is in effect a give way sign. Yellow lines? Mmmm, the man must have run out of yellow paint. Driving on the wrong side of a dual carriageway? Why not – if I flash my lights the have to get out of the way – even if there is a steep drop on their side. Joining a road from a side road (T intersection) and pulling out in front of a vehicle even if it is the only vehicle for kilometers? Hey, why not I had me indicator on (actual response!) – indicators do not give any right of way. And in the meantime our wonderful traffic enforcers do nothing because they can’t – their powers to ticket were removed from many officers and it took only a few months for drivers to realize (officers I have spoken with are really p****d off.) A good Filipino friend who now works and drives in Australia recently had a short holiday here – “We really are c**p drivers in Davao” he said.

        • says

          Hi Steven – To be honest, I have lived in Davao for 9 years and have never seen the things you are talking about. We just started getting traffic lights here a few years ago, and I don’t recall ever seeing anybody disobey a traffic signal. Traffic enforcement is on nearly every corner in the city (did you see the guys wearing green shirts?). Sorry, I have to disagree with what you said on this one.

          • Steven Hark says

            Sorry Bob, but you must be driving with your eyes closed. Yes, I see those guys in green shirts – actually, they have two uniforms of different colors and wear them depending on the day of the week – and I have watched them watching vehicles going thru red lights. I have seen those guys sometimes step out into a road to stop a vehicle and be totally ignored. I have also talked with those guys and they are frustrated as hell because they, generally, can do NOTHING! Our traffic enforcement officers need to have their powers reinstated and need to visit central Metro Manila to see how the job is carried out. Yesterday I took a pix of a car at a traffic-light controlled junction. On my road there are two lanes in and one out with double yellow lines between. This guy drives up the wrong side of the yellow lines – stops for the red – and completely blocks the single lane out – that is not new. If you don’t believe me give me your email address and I will send it. If it would achieve anything, I would fit a video camera on my car – but, given the blindness of people – who cares.

            • says

              Hi Steven – Since your original comment, I have discussed this with about a half dozen other expats who drive in Davao. We all agreed that we had seen nothing of the sort of what you are describing. Perhaps we are all blind.

              • Steven Hark says

                Hi Bob

                Perhaps you should talk with my brother-in-law, a Filipino, who also thought there was nothing wrong with driving in Davao City. Then he emigrated to Australia. When he came back for a month’s holiday he was dumbfounded at the standard of driving here – he hadn’t realized just how bad it was here when he lived here. The Eagle Squad is arresting/fining thousands of drivers since it was establish last year. And then there was the infamous case on what some people still call MacArthur Highway, which, I believe, Gary commented on in one of his newspaper items.
                Have a good day – and drive defensively!

              • says

                Steven – You have your opinion, and I have mine. I have no problem with that. It seems that you do, though. Perhaps I am misinterpreting you?

          • Steven Hark says

            1. First Time Vehicle Rule
            At all intersections without “stop” or “yield” signs, slow down and prepare to stop. Yield to vehicles already in the intersection or about to enter it.
            (In other words, if you are turning right at a 3-lens light unit, GIVE WAY! – If it is a 4- or 5-lens light uni you must obey a red.)

            4. Left Turn
            Signal left turn and yield to approaching traffic until it is completely safe to finish the turn.
            (Vehicles on the main road have right of way – not the side road.)

            5. Rotonda
            Vehicles around the rotunda have the right-of-way over vehicles which are just about to enter.
            (ie, give way to the left.)

            Unfortunately LTO’s rules are full of confusing rules – such as the fast lane for the righthand drive world being called the outer lane and that lane for the lefthand drive world being called the outer inner lane.

            Finally, if you want to be really, really confused, the very long paragragh on speed limits will send you back to walking.

    • Ray says

      I have a qestion howq old do you have to be to drive in the philippines is it 17 years or more
      i noticed some person mentioned driving in Egypt,

      I lived in Egypt with my family and was driving all over Egypt sure the driving is not bad, but when you get used to it its ok

      The worst place i have driven a car was in africa that was bad… Saudi was ok America was ok
      the philippines, is ok when you get used to it,, the uk we have our problems when it comes to driving a car we are not the best..

      Back to my Q there we go how old do you have to be to drive a car in the philipines thank you..

  1. Tony says

    I used to curse a lot while driving in the Island Paradise but after having driven in Egypt for a few months….I will never complain again.

    • Steven Hark says

      Muslims have a different attitude to most things. Their whole lives are controlled by Allah because they submit totally. Therefore, if the are driving and crash or cause an accident, they cannot really be held to account. Which is why the worst drivers are Saudis and I heard on CNN or ANC that about 17 Saudis are killed in vehicle accidents every day. I’m glad I survived 6 years.

      • Filipino 442 says

        The Philippines has a huge Muslim population. Not all of them are interested in separating from the Philippines, and many have good positions within Government and other services. The Philippine Government is working very hard to ensure, they feel integrated, and put an end to decades of misunderstandings and conflicts.

        The Filipino Muslims unlike you alien nationals, hold Filipino passports. Mocking their god or religion, that instigates tensions in the Philippines will do you no good. They will just get you deported for stirring up trouble. I know this, because there are cases of foreigner hotshots who don’t like Muslims and stirring up inter-communal hatred, getting deported from the Philippines. I would strongly suggest, if you have an issue with Muslims or their religion, don’t come to Philippines which has a large Muslim population. And not all Filipinos are “ill-treated” in the middle east. Get over that feeling a victim mentality.

        Take it as an useful advice.

    • Steven Hark says

      Muslims in the Middle East, especially Saudi, have not control over how they drive or what happens. They seriously believe that Allah is in control and if something is going to happen then it is His Will. Freaking freaky when you are trying to drive correctly yourself.

  2. Dwayne says

    Funny thing is it is almost always more enjoyable to drive in countries like this than to be driven by others. I find it enjoyably challenging, racing to get to the next intersection first and see how many cars, scooters, taxi and pedicabs I can pass in order to get there. I much prefer driving than being driven by others especially taxis.

  3. says

    i’ve been driving am motor bike here in ozamiz for two years,there are no stop signs or lights the here,cam close am couple time but knock on wood no crashes yet.i’m 67 years old and enjoy the excitement,you can make better time than am auto. i had am 6 speed ,manual shift, but found it was kind of dangerous in tight traffic,so got and auto-shift now.DRIVE LIKE HELL,YOU WILL GET THERE LOL

  4. maynard says

    Hi Bob,yep it sure took some getting used to driving in the big cities,three lane highway with four cars wide and though in a few motorcycles and jeepneys,and they all want to be first it seems.Now its kind of funny to me to watch them and their ways. I have no more road rage hahaa.

  5. dans says


    driving in the Philippines is like driving a go-cart, it is “still” better compared to middle east driving.

  6. Alan Hettinger says

    When I am in manila i just use public transortation. But in the province where I live I use a motor scooter. Less traffic but easier to cut through taffic if it does get heavy.

      • peterjoy says

        Hi Bob

        As we live about 30 mis from the bank and shops we have two scooters that my wife drives to go to the shops and i find this a lot off fun to go with her on the back part from the part it look funny seeing a big man and a little lady on a bike and get a lot off looks but it bets wait for a ride mate and i find it a little safer and get some one u dont know to take u down to the bloody bank and then saying thank u i will take that money lol…peter martin tassie

  7. Bill Dignan says

    I have been here going on two weeks and I love the idea of having 3 people on a motorcycle. Also I tell people that there is one basic rule, stay on the right side most of the time. Everything else goes!

  8. John says

    I love the dark tinting in the cars, I can hardly see the chaos around me.

    The first two years, I think my driver had 4 accidents. When they see a foreigner jump out to see if they are hurt on two occassions they took off.

    The one thing that pisses me off is in a taxi and the driver wont stop texting, now I ask them to pull over usually that works but at times I have been terrified.

  9. Mars Z. says

    My wife’s observation as a first time taxi rider in Manila was are we going to reach our destination in one piece? She also noted the lack of road rage amongst drivers—just laugh it off. My son loved it. He thinks that’s how driving should be done, everybody synchronized and aware of their surroundings. My son is a fan of rally driving and get together some nights here in VA on some VW night outs.

  10. Katrina says

    One needs to be a good “car body language” reader in order to survive in the Philippine traffic jam… Hehehe

      • Steven Hark says

        When I went to work for a US-originated company in Saudi I had to take a defensive driving course and test before they would let me near any company vehicle. In the UK a defensive driving course will give you a discount on vehicle insurance. The LTO has comments on defensive driving but spoils what they have said by adding “but a courteous driver…” to the point that you don’t know just what you should do.

  11. Dan says

    Gosh Bob..when looked at the photo I thought I saw you truck squeezed inbetween all those other trucks and cars and jeepenies and motos……

  12. Gary says

    I don’t mind aggressive drivers. I can usually tell what someone is going to do and if they just go for it, I’ve already planned my reaction. Indecisive drivers make things difficult – you can spot the indecisive drivers too, but they can be somewhat unpredictable.

    One of my favs is when someone has their turn signal on for 3 blocks but they’re just too timid to change lanes. Finally they stop because they’ve reached the point where they must turn – blocking traffic in their lane, until it’s really really clear to cross over. LOL

  13. Paul Thompson says

    Very timely artical; Yesterday (2 Feb.) I was stopped by the LTO Police for passing 4 cars in a row. The problem the officer had was I did it by crossing the solid yellow line , also one of the cars was his police car. I figured I had a well deserved ticket coming to me, as even I knew I was wrong.
    He asked for my licence, and asked if I knew why I was stopped, I smiled and answered, “Because I broke the law!” I further admitted that I knew it when I did it. Then he told me to come to Manila to retrieve my licence the following week. This is where my prior training kicked it. I was smiling and asked if I could just get a ticket and pay the fine. Nope Manila it must be. I displayed no anger and gave no back talk. But I started joking about what I did, and how I really would rather take a whoopin’ from a big man that go to Manila, his partner and I were talking and joking.
    Then I Said to the officer, Pare, I need your help, is there any way you could forgive my mistake, and not take my licence? For what ever reason, he gave it back to me, and sent me on my way.
    Mayang, who remained in the car said to me: “Honey Ko, I knew you could charm your way out of that ticked, because of the high respect you gave to the officer.” Interesting experience to be sure. The moral: Leave your attitude at home, because you’re gonna’ be wrong, even if you’re right, and twice that if you were really wrong.

    • Bryan G says

      Paul I could write a book about being pulled by the traffic police in Manila – always got my licence back,about 50 % of the time without having to contribute to his lunch bill.You have about 15 seconds to assess the policeman himself to judge whether to go into grovel mode,be aggressive and assertive or to completely fail to understand what he is trying to tell you – only practice will tell you which. A cardinal rule is always to have At least 3 one hundred peso notes available,sometimes you can negotiate down to 2 hundred.My mistake the last time was to have only 5 hundred peso notes in my wallet and of course the officer had no change!My worst day was being pulled twice in the space of 15 minutes – once outside the Mall of Asia ” you swerved sir” and then crossing Roxas – I dont know what I did – each time 2 hundred pesos – my good lady was absolutely delighted of course – they really enjoy twisting the knife dont they. All this is probably more of an indication of the standard of my driving than anything else!

      • Paul Thompson says

        As I told my LTO Policeman “I’d rather take a whoopin’ from a big man than drive in Manila”. The subject of a bribe never raised it’s ugly head.
        The one time years ago, that I was asked by the cop why I not offer him a bribe, I told him that it would shame me, to try to corrupt an honest man.” (I cracked myself up). After that he no longer wanted any money, he just wanted me gone.

      • John says

        I will let you in on my secret, but don’t tell anyone.

        My driver has a trick—the car is tinted and they usually can’t see that I am a foreigner but I think the car gives it away.

        When we are pulled over, (same MOA spot) my driver says his licence is in the trunk for saftey reasons, and we have 2 10KG sacks of rice, he will say my boss wont give cash but here is something for your family. SnR must think I am feeding a village LOL

        In terms of the worst place I have ever driven it would be Havana without question, if you hit a cow or goat you go straight to jail, the logic is the cow doens’t have the sense to move.

        • Paul Thompson says

          In Italy 30 years ago there was no traffic rule for drunk driving, for if you drove drunk you were considered insane and were committed to a mental institution that same day.

          • Paul Thompson says

            Here on Luzon we have this new expressway that is 10 lanes across, the funny part is, it was supposed to be six lanes, why do they bother to paint the lines?

              • Paul Thompson says

                The lanes were painted on the roadway (Built by a UK construction Company) 3 lanes on either side, the paint must be defected, as it never worked..
                But I noticed they could drive 5 cars abreast, allowing for 5 lanes on either side, and it still doesn’t increase traffic flow. But by some wild streach of the imagination, I guess you could still call them lanes. The whatever fits, that’s what fits rule must be Nation wide.

    • Gary says

      I just don’t have your charm.

      I scooted in front of a CHP officer in LA once. Had to or I would have missed my exit. Considering the traffic, “squeezing by” on a lane change was not uncalled for. Unfortunately my car tags were expired. The good news is they had a record that my payment and tags were being processed. Bad news is, he wrote me up for tinted windows – I guess he felt he had to write my up for something.

      Interestingly when I went to court I discovered I could remove the tint or pay a $70 fine. Hmmm… pay fine or remove tint? Here’s my check (lol).

      I’ve yet to meet anyone pulled over in Gensan :)

  14. Bryan G says

    It is a matter of attitude with regard to driving in the Philippines – we are visiting Davao for the first time today and can compare it to Manila where I first drove 20 years ago. In Manila the primary rule is that there are no rules except dont collide with anyone. There is absolutely no regard for road manners in any shape or form – the mild mannered office worker turns into a monster once he gets behind the wheel.Having said all that there is a certain satisfaction on reaching ones destination alive,undamaged and with the adrenaline dribbling out of your ears!
    The best way to cope with it is to regard it as a dangerous sport such as base jumping or white water canoeing. The saving grace in Manila is that the traffic moves at a snails pace so accidents are rare and usually – with the exception of pedestrians – does not result in injury.In all the time I have spent driving here and in the provinces I have never been involved in an accident- had some phenomenal avoidances though! and as my wife will confirm I am not a very good driver.There are worse places to drive in the world – India,which has the added problem of cattle roaming the cities, Africa,where maintenance of vehicles is non existent and the bus bearing down on you has a high probability of having no brakes and /or the steering only vaguely connected to the wheels.THE MIDDLE EAST (in capitals deliberately!) – where driving is an expression of Arab masculinity of gladiatorial proportions resulting in a death rate which could rival a small war.In the Arab world it is always the other drivers fault- doubly so if the other driver is a foreigner. In places such as Saudi,Dubai,Tunisia and other Arab states I have witnessed carnage on an industrial scale caused mainly by stupidity beyond the wit of a simple soul such as myself to understand.Truly the way people drive in a country gives a total insight of the true character of the nation. Treat it as a blood sport and you may even come to enjoy it – I do!

  15. Jun Trinidad says

    Hi Bob and all, here’s a story about “Women Drivers”. Enjoy

    This morning on the Interstate,
    I looked over to my left and there was a

    In a brand new

    Doing 65 mph

    With her
    Face up next to her
    Rear view mirror
    Putting on her eyeliner.
    I looked away
    For a couple seconds…

    To continue shaving

    And when I looked back she was
    Halfway over in my lane,

    Still working on that makeup.

    As a man,
    I don’t scare easily.

    But she scared me so much;
    I dropped

    My electric shaver

    Which knocked
    The donut
    Out of my other hand.

    In all The confusion of trying
    To straighten out the car

    Using my knees against
    The steering wheel,

    It knocked
    My Cell Phone
    Away from my ear

    Which fell

    Into the coffee
    Between my legs!


    And burned

    Big Mike and the Twins,

    Ruined the damn phone,

    Soaked my trousers,

    And disconnected an
    Important call.

    Damn women drivers!

  16. Gary says

    I refined the comment I posted on John M’s article a bit. All in fun.

    Driving in the Philippines is like surfing and (American) football.

    Surfing: gotta be committed, paddle hard and just go for it. Any hesitation and you get sucked over the falls. Gotta adapt to changing conditions. Take off left, take off right, and be able to cut back. Avoid rocks, coral, pilons, debris, swimmers and other surfers. Keep your balance and composure, and above all don’t wipeout.

    Football: follow your blockers. Learn to read defense and when a hole opens up hit it. Don’t be afraid of the open field run, but avoid tacklers, don’t try to run through them. Give the rookies a little slack, but let ’em know you’re a veteran. Always obey the referies. But above all else, never ever hit anyone standing on the sidelines.

    Both: have no fear, a bit of aggression, and a healthy dose of respect.

  17. Leah Lynn Geanga says

    My husband couldn´t forget the billboard sign entering Koronadal city.. Drive safely, the life you save maybe your own.. Hilarious!

  18. Gary Wigle says

    After watching the video my first thought was “What is wrong with these folks?” Looked like some easy driving to me. They should be on National Highway coming out of Davao going to Tagum City at rush hour. Four and a half hours to travel 55 kms. Plus the fact the little sign said they were going 100 miles per hour. They couldn’t even pass a 125 cc single motor! Hahaha. Those kanos here in the Philippines. Hahaha. Wait! I am a kano in the Philippines. I do enjoy riding the bus. I think the bus drivers are the best drivers here. 8 tons of metal flying down the mountain at 100 kph. Just puts a smile on my face thinking about it.


    Gary in Tagum City

    • says

      Hi Gary – I was waiting for a comment like yours to come along before sharing my view of the video. Frankly, as I watched the video and heard the American guy so astonished by the driving… I sat there thinking to myself that everything appeared normal to me! Nothing strange or unusual about the driving shown in the video! 😆 Maybe I’ve been here too long?

      • Gary says

        I didn’t say anything either, but there was nothing in the video that looked crazy at all to me. I’ve seen crazier stuff in the US than what was on that video.

        100mph I doubt it – the speedo is probably in kph, so more like 60mph if that.

        It might be hard to really capture the essence of the driving experience on video, but that one didn’t even come close.

  19. gerry says

    yes I agree, that video was a walk in the park there was nothing in it that was threatening. As a London driver we see much worse than that every day, if you can get through the London rush hour without upsetting at least 6 other drivers then you have had an easy day. I have never found driving in any other country more difficult than London, Italy can be noisy, Paris can be busy but that’s easy to deal with.

    The only place that I felt uncomfortable wasn’t when I was driving but in a bus travelling from CDO to Davao, those bus drivers are just suicide jockeys :)

  20. Leon Andrews says

    Hi Bob, one of my rare visits to your site.

    Have to contradict the statement there is no road rule here in Davao. There is one and simply put it’s ” if your going to hit the back or side of any other vehicle with the front of yours STOP and give way, If you can get the side or rear of your vehicle in front of any other vehicles they will stop and let you go ” learnt this in China many years ago. Works for me and I now drive as crazy as you.

    Only thing that really pisses me off is some one wanting to get infront of you from a side road or doing a uturn and I check the rear view mirror and there is nothing behind for a mile but they just have to cut in. Apart from that I enjoy driving here.

    Went for trip from Davao to CDO a week ago. My Garmin GPS told me my average speed was 37 KPH whilst moving, not counting stops for road works etc, top speed was 110KPH and total time for both ways was just on 15 hours. Have to take at least an hour out of that time for visiting Father Franco in Buda and Don Mulligan in Maramag.

  21. says

    On my first seven trips to the Philippines I swore I would NEVER drive myself. It was utter insanity to me…and I still think it is, especially in Manila. But now that I have gotten used to the insanity I actually could see myself driving there.

    You just have to observe and go with the flow.

    Also, it sorta amazes me that in the video they talk about how crazy the driving is, they take notice of the motorcycle guy with the propane on the cart (actually not that dangerous, propane takes routinely sit very close to very very hot barbecues) and yet they drive 100 MPH in a fairly heavy traffic area. Hmmmm.

    I will say this, if you can drive in Manila I am convinced you can drive anywhere. There is no such thing as a peaceful sleepy drive in Manila…but I love it!!!

  22. Bryan G says

    After my visit to Davao I must agree with Bob – the standard of driving is much less aggressive than in Manila. It does not seem to be just the reduced volume of traffic – even in the jams there is less horn blowing and all the usual display of mass hysteria that we get in the capital. Travelled in a jeepney today from Filamlife to Muntinlupa cannot be more than 7 miles – 1 hr 25 mins – a couple of youths pushing a cart loaded with plastic scrap passed us!

  23. Bryan G says

    One problem not touched on is the difficulty of having to change your driving when travelling to another country.For several years I was dividing my time between Manila,Dubai and Scotland and apart from the obvious problem of shifting from right hand drive to left I also had to cope with the different driving cultures. If I drove in Scotland like I do in Manila I think I would have lasted minutes before being arrested or dragged from the car by other irate motorists!

  24. Boguy says

    Driving in Davao means freedom pure.

    People respect traffic lights and the rules are subject by custom laws. Overtake left and right, why not ? No problem, if you take care. Do not always think what is my right and seeing the splitter in your brother’s eye. S/he makes a mistake and next time me. I am driving since more than fourty years in my life and a lot of years in the Philippines. In my youth we drove in Bavaria similar, if there was no police. I only do not like to drive in the evening and in the night, because of tricycles (ang mga payong) with no light. So I do avoid to drive during these hours. Concerning, too, that among others, tricycle and taxi drivers have to earn their money by driving….
    Driving in Davao is a giving and a taking. What do we need mores rules and controllers?
    What said vice-major Duterte in a different matter ? Who Davao does not like, is free to leave..

  25. MeisterASV says

    Quite excited to see my video was used here for this entry! Yes, for me this was quite a “crazy” experience, but I am sure if I get exposed to this way of driving around, this will become a normal thing for me. I can’t deny my trip to the Philippines was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life and I just cannot wait to return and explore more about that beautiful country (especially the food!)

    But yeah, there is no way I could survive driving there! Love how someone mentioned there was nothing crazy going on here! which means I never got to experience real crazy driving!! And in a way, I hope not to…. that alone was enough to raise my blood pressure out of fear.

    Glad you guys enjoyed my weird video! lol (And yes, I guess the car was traveling at 100kph, not 100mph! my mistake)

  26. says

    I kinda enjoy just sitting back and letting my wife do the driving. She has become a pretty good driver though sometimes she gets a little offensive which she learned from me. I used to get ticked off at drivers often but now it does not bother me so much. Most really do not mean to be rude, it’s just the way they learned. It’s a little crazy but nothing to be bothered about, this is the Philippines. If I went back to the States I would probably be pulled over the first day. Think I’ll just stay here.

  27. art w says

    I doubt if I will ever drive here in a big city. Just to dangereous for an expat. I will drive in small towns like Tagum. I love not having all the stupid traffic lights like we have in America. I hate sitting at a light for 5 minutes and not even one vehicle coming. It is amazing how the people here drive and never have an accident. Like John said just go with the flow. I sit and watch traffic going through the intersections all the time here in Tagum on the main highway and see the tricycles, buses, jeepneys, bikes, big commercial trucks all converge at the same time from all 4 directions with no stop lights or stop signs and no accidents. In America there would be a 50 car pile up if we didn’t have traffic lights. hahaha!


  28. Matt says

    I am staying in Manila as I have always done before and while I have wanted to drive here, most advice is to use a driver. Sugestions that I would be paying for any accident regardless of fault were enough to discourage me. That and the insane driving habits of the locals.
    But I have just returned from Cebu where I rented a car and found it wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. Of course there is less trafic than in Manila, which is why I decided to give it a go, but I don’t think it would be too much more difficult here.
    As Bob pointed out the freedom provided from driving yourself is great. Having said that you would be crazy to use a car around metro Manila. It is so easy and cheap to get around using public transport as well as being less stressful. But for out of town trips my advice is if you are a confident driver then get a car and drive yourself.

    • says

      Hi Matt – I do enjoy the freedom of driving my own vehicle. But, I have an article coming soon on this topic, and I may have a few surprises for you, so stay tuned! 😆

  29. Terence says

    I’m currently in Cebu. I travel often and like to get a rental in most places I go, so I can get out of the main areas and enjoy the local places and foods. From what I’m reading Manila is must worst then Cenu in driving.. But if they have the same etticate in Manila as they do here it seems easy enough to drive there too. I would rate this harder then Taiwan because of the traffic and lack of signage and lines and basic traffic lights. Peru is much harder then here in Cebu. Although Peru has about double the amount of intersection lights, they don’t obey them. So they put a cop in the intersections to help enforce them, and nobody follows them also. Stop signs were suggestions and the drivers are heartless. Here you can get someone to stop and let you turn in front of them.

  30. Borsia says

    From the video it looks like driving in Davao is WAY better than Manila!
    That said driving in the PH is easy compared to other places I’ve lived.
    China, outside of a few major cities, uses a caste driving system based on the value of the cars. So a BMW has right of way over a Toyota while a Mercedes has right of way over a BMW etc. If 2 cars of equal value meet neither will yield and you have a standoff that can last a long time, even if a minor change like a slight move would remedy the situation.
    The worst I’ve ever seen was Panama in the early 2000s.
    Here in the PH I drive both a car and a motorcycle without much problem.
    But there is a dark side to driving here. One night we came around a curve to see a body lying across the road. We managed to miss hitting him but looking back the truck and bus coming behind us made no apparent maneuvers to avoid him nor did they, or anyone else that we saw, stop.

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